Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Black Swan's girlfriend was alone and looking a bit sad, but he soon came to find her and they went up to the bridge.

The Black Swan seems nervous about going on to the Long Water, and has probably had an encounter with the tough pair of Mute Swans who own it. But there are some tempting waterside plants to eat. He let her go under the bridge, and when she came back undisturbed, he went himself for a quick snack. He only stayed for two minutes before retreating to the safety of the Serpentine.

The Cormorants are now almost always bringing up their fish draped in weed that has to be separated and discarded.

It seems that the powerful lunge and grab of their technique is not very accurate. Sometimes they just come up with a beakful of dead leaves and no fish.

The Great Crested Grebes are much more agile and precise, and seldom have this problem. Here is a young grebe from the nest in the reeds on the Long Water, about three and a half months old, but already an expert.

This Egyptian Goose is much smaller than the others. I think it's the one from the brood on the Serpentine in which it was tiny and young-looking compared to its siblings. But it seems bright and active, and was boldly pushing gulls and pigeons aside when someone was feeding the birds.

I threw a peanut to a Carrion Crow and a young Herring Gull intercepted it, shattering the shell with a couple of swift pecks -- harder for a gull than a crow, as it can't hold the nut down with its weak little feet. Then it picked up the largest piece of the shell and played with it for several minutes.

The usual pair of Herring Gulls were in the Diana fountain enclosure, looking for worms in their usual place in the corner. When they wandered off in different directions, one of them called its mate.

A Robin on a tree near the bridge was waiting impatiently to be fed.

The shire horses were out on Buck Hill again, this time with a chain harrow. I don't know what this was supposed to do to the grass, but it was very efficient at picking up dead leaves, and avoided the din of mechanical blowers.


  1. Hi Ralph

    I would love to see the Little Owls, and have worked out where the trees are from your comments on the blog. However, I would hate to disturb them. Do you recommend observing from a distance with binoculars or a zoom or is it OK to approach under the canopy? How close is too close?

    1. The male Little Owl is very calm, and if he is on his usual branch you can stand between the two trees and look up at him. But I haven't seen him there for two days. The female is much shyer and usually flies away when you approach the trees -- but you have to approach to see either of them.